In May, the entire 2015 Anesthesiology Technology class graduated with a 100 percent pass rate on the end-of-the-course National Certification Exam. Moreover, each student was placed into employment immediately.
It’s the fifth class in five years that has achieved a 100 percent pass and employment rate – a stellar record that speaks volumes of the quality of instruction offered through the burgeoning program.
“This is an extraordinary accomplishment,” said Dr. Barbara Freund, dean of the PCC School of Health Sciences. “I am so proud of the work invested by faculty and students and so grateful to our clinical partners for working with us to provide such a rich experience for our students. The credit for this belongs entirely to the anesthesiology tech faculty. They are an amazing group with an equally remarkable program director.”
The impressive run began five years ago after PCC partnered with Kaiser Permanente. As the need for anesthesiology technicians was increasing, Kaiser administrators were concerned the technicians they already had were trained on-the-job and lacked the formal education regarding the responsibilities in their positions, according to Dr. Michael Boytim, Anesthesiology Technology program director.
“I had the idea that since we already had a nurse anesthesia school, perhaps we should develop an anesthesia technology program,” Boytim said.
Kaiser then contacted PCC’s Health Sciences, and the two institutions began to develop a curriculum that was based on the framework of Kaiser’s nurse anesthesia education program. The result was the inception in 2009 of PCC’s Anesthesiology Technology program, the first program of its kind in the nation to offer an associate degree.
“We are the first program to partner with a college in order to become fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs,” said Dr. John Nagelhout, PCC instructor in the Anesthesiology Technology program. “Kaiser contributes the medical and clinical expertise and PCC provides the academic foundational support which combines to make this unique partnership so successful.”
Because the coursework is so specialized, only a few students are accepted into the program annually. This year, more than 50 students applied for 11 spots in the program, which is taught by anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, and certified anesthesia technologists both within and outside the Kaiser Permanente system.
“Since we admit some of the brightest applicants, we have had a 100 percent pass rate on the certification exam each year,” Boytim said. “These students rotate through 12 clinical facilities in Southern California, so they are highly sought for employment by department administrators during their rotations. Many are offered a job prior to graduation.”
Added Nagelhout: “PCC is now a national model for anesthesia technology education. We have received numerous inquiries and visits from educational institutions throughout the U.S. looking to emulate our program. We are proud that this partnership program reflects academic excellence and professional integrity, and is an innovative leader in this vocational curriculum in education and health science.”
For more information on PCC’s Anesthesiology Technology program, please visit www.pasadena.edu/divisions/health-sciences/anesthesia.